Mount Olympus and Athens, Greece
As Olympic year approaches, what better than your own weekend marathon journey through mainland Greece? Fly from Gatwick to Thessaloniki, which then provides fast access by train to Litochoro, a cheery town that has the feel of a cool hill station high above the plains of Macedonia. From here you can start to climb Mount Olympus in the summer – but on a long weekend, make do with a cab ride along a spectacular winding track to Prionia. This is little more than a car park, from where serious climbers embark. Turn right around and take the trail back down the spectacular Enipeas gorge. The next day, a combination of buses and trains transport you to the rock towers of Meteora, some reaching hundreds of metres high, grotesquely eroded by the elements. Man has trumped nature by creating Byzantine monasteries at the summits. Looks familiar? James Bond fans will recognise the Holy Trinity Monastery from For Your Eyes Only. Next, nip across to the pleasant city of Larissa for the afternoon inter-city train to Athens. This should put you in the Greek capital by 8pm, perfect timing for dinner and a Saturday night out in this engrossing city. Stay at the Periscope, a hotel which combines 21st-century style with respect for ancient stones of Athens. Don’t make it a late night, because on Sunday morning the Acropolis opens at 8am. Wander amid the ruins of the world’s first superpower, with the air over Athens as clear as it gets. Then descend for a perfect Sunday of coffee, market rummaging, lunch, the awesome National Archaeological Museum and a final ouzo before taking the underground to catch the evening plane home.
Hours from London: Six
Travel modes: Flight, taxi, train and bus
Number of nights away: Two
A double room at Periscope costs from €135 (£90) per night. Call +30 210 729 7200 or visit periscope.gr. BA flies to Thessaloniki from London Gatwick and to Athens from London Heathrow, visit ba.com